President Donald Trump says he’s had “no negative effect” from massive campaign rallies with thousands of attendees not adhering to social distancing recommendations amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Trump said during Tuesday night’s debate against Democrat Joe Biden that he thought masks “are OK,” pulling one out from his pocket and saying, “I wear masks when needed.”
But Trump also bragged that he’s drawn “35 to 40,000 people” at his campaign rallies, saying he brings such large crowds to outdoor events “because people want to hear what I have to say.” Trump portrayed Biden’s socially distanced events as insignificant affairs where the Democrat “has three people some place.”
Former Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain, who attended one of Trump’s rallies in June without wearing a mask or social distancing, tested positive for the coronavirus nine days after the rally and died a month later. Neither Trump nor Biden mentioned him.
Biden has held smaller campaign events, requiring attendees to spread out and at times sit in taped-off circles. Calling Trump “totally irresponsible” on managing COVID-19, Biden said the president is “a fool on this” and said Trump only worried about masks in the interest of protecting his own health, not others.
COVID-19 was the third leading cause of death from March to September and accounts for 11 percent of all deaths in the United States since the pandemic began, according to USA Facts.